• Published 25th May 2018
  • 2,307 Views, 989 Comments

Little Consequences - Skijarama

Princess Rainbow Dash and her friends have found themselves in the newly restored Crystal Empire, and now struggle against the forces of Queen Chrysalis and the enigmatic King Sombra in an effort to reclaim Canterlot and save Equestria.

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Luna's Strategy

“I never thought I would be so appalled to call a princess my friend...”

“We coulda helped ya if ya had just told us the truth!

“Why… why did you do it, Rainbow? The didn’t deserve this...”

“Those ponies are going to be sad for the rest of their lives! HOW COULD YOU?!”

“...Why didn’t you tell us? Why didn’t you tell me?”

Rainbow Dash took a few steps back, her ears flat against her head and her heart hammering violently against her ribs. The ephemeral phantoms of her friends stalked towards her, their bodies made up of distorted shadows while their eyes glowed ominously. All around them, the once beautiful Crystal Empire had been turned on its head and corrupted into something nightmarish. Masterfully carved buildings of blue crystal had been transformed into perverted mockeries made of jagged, dark crystals that practically oozed misery and sorrow. The once pristine smooth streets were now pitch black, and branching spikes poked out of them. In the sky far above them, the clouds could be seen. They were the same colors as fire and smoke, and in the center of it all, there could be seen a shadowy vortex pulling in the clouds and any hope in the world. At the center of that vortex was a small point of light, barely visible and slowly growing dimmer.

“Well?! What do you have to say for yerself?!” Applejack demanded, stomping a hoof down hard enough to create a spider-web crack pattern.

Quivering with fear and whimpering in guilt, Rainbow stumbled back again, her eyes locking onto the damage to the street. “I-I’m sorry…” She finally managed to choke out. “I thought I could save them…”

“You were wrong, clearly,” Rarity snorted dismissively, her entire body flickering and distorting for a second before snapping back to its normal shape, albeit still made of darkness. “And all of us have had to pay the price for your lack of judgment!”

“Don’t waste yer breath on her,” Applejack sneered bitterly, turning her back on Rainbow and beginning to trot away. “Either leave her to her fate or bring her to it. Ah don’t rightly care, either way. As long as she pays the price.”

“Applejack, wait-” Rainbow cried out, taking a step forward. Twilight suddenly appeared in front of her with the sound of booming static, the distortions on her body even stronger than the others. Barely stifling a shout, Rainbow scampered backward several feet before cowering lower towards the ground. “Twi…”

“I’m sorry, but you need to be punished…” Twilight sighed, clearly pained but what she was doing. Her horn lit up with corrupted dark magic before a beam of it shot out and struck Rainbow between the eyes. Her world became nothing but white-hot pain, an agonized wail making her vocal chords go raw.


“Does being sorry make up for everything you’ve done?”

Rainbow couldn’t answer. The pain in the center of her head was just too much. Screaming out, she crumpled to the ground, powerless to do anything to protect herself.


All at once, the magic tunneling into her head dissipated into nothingness, and the pain went with it. Gasping raggedly for breath, Rainbow Dash lifted timidly her head and saw that the fallen Crystal Empire had been replaced with a seemingly endless field of grass and flowers, softly illuminated by the pale glow of a full moon in the night sky over her head. A soothing breeze washed over her and the flowers, and she felt herself starting to relax as a realization occurred to her. She got back to her hooves, took in a deep breath, then turned around. Just like she had suspected, she saw Princess Luna standing not far away, looking back at her with a happy, if exhausted, look on her face.

That exhaustion did nothing to deter the surge of joy Rainbow Dash felt, however. “Aunt Luna!” she shouted and shot forward with a powerful flap of her wings, wrapping them and her forelegs around Luna’s neck in a tight hug. “Oh my gosh, I’m so glad to see you! Are you okay, are you hurt?” she babbled out, burying her face into Luna’s shoulder.

Luna grunted from the force of the tackle and staggered back several steps before giving a light-hearted laugh and returning the embrace. “Haha, calm yourself, my niece, I am unharmed,” she replied while giving a tight squeeze and nuzzling affectionately into Rainbow’s shoulder. “I am glad to see you as well… are you and your friends faring well?”

Rainbow slowly pulled back and gave a slow nod. “We’re holding together, yeah. We made it to the Crystal Empire like you told us,” she replied simply.

Luna seemed to visibly relax upon hearing that before her brow furrowed with concern. “I suppose that would in part explain the contents of your dream… I recognized it as the Empire as soon as I saw it, if perhaps… horribly corrupted. Has something happened?” she asked with a ginger tone of voice, carefully observing Rainbow’s reaction.

The pegasus visibly wilted and sighed, letting her head hang down in front of her. “Y-yeah… King Sombra came back along with the Empire. We managed to get him to back off for a while, but he’s not gone...”

Luna blinked and, for a moment, was utterly silent. “...How?” She finally asked, seemingly baffled. “When I met him, he was as unflinching in his ways as I was in mine as Nightmare Moon. Relentless, cold, merciless, and unwilling to accept compromise. He would never have backed off from an objective.”

Rainbow swallowed the lump in her throat, hoping that the anxiety in her voice wasn’t too evident. “I, uh, managed to convince him to back off. Negotiations and the like…”

Luna’s eyes widened slightly before she, too, visibly wilted. She reached out a hoof and set it on Rainbow’s shoulder. “He made you sign a contract, didn’t he?” she asked in a quiet, knowing whisper.

Rainbow looked up at Luna with wide-eyed shock. “Wha…” she choked out. For a moment, she merely mouthed like a fish before sighing and nodding. “H-how did you know?” she asked with a tremor in her voice, tensing up in expectation of some kind of harsh scolding.

Luna growled deep in her throat and looked off to the side. Rainbow followed her gaze and saw magical light swirling together to form an image of King Sombra, standing tall and imperiously, in front of an assembly of ponies. They were all bowing to him, with thick, heavy chains linking them together. Unusual helmets made up of darkly colored steel completely encased their heads with green glows coming out of the viewports. “King Sombra is a manipulator where brute force will not work. He is not an idiot and he knows his limitations… He sows seeds of fear, paranoia, doubt and hatred wherever possible to weaken his enemies and further his own ends. This includes things as severe as total mind control to something as subtle as a carefully worded treaty or a falsified rumor. Such tactics were a large part of what let him take over the Empire, to begin with, so very long ago...”

“You knew him, I take it?” Rainbow asked cautiously, glancing up at her aunt.

Luna nodded grimly. “Yes, I did. Celestia and I fought side-by-side against him when we learned of his coup, and we had hoped to overthrow him, find the rightful heir and restore them to the throne. Alas, when we turned him to shadow, he cast a curse upon the Empire and made it vanish. We tried to find the heir, but sadly, we never could…”

Rainbow nodded slowly before looking down and letting out a heavy sigh. “I’m sorry, Aunt Luna. I couldn’t see any other way to save my friends. If I didn’t sign that scroll, I probably wouldn’t be talking with you now. He’d already have the Empire and taken out my friends and I.”

Luna nodded in understanding while patting Rainbow on the head with a hoof. “I believe you, Rainbow… but I have to know, what were the terms of the contract? What does he want from you?”

Rainbow began shaking at the question but answered nonetheless. “He wants the Empire. He’s keeping to the tundra for now, and whenever Chrysalis and her army come buzzing through, he’s going to make it as hard as he can for them to get here. But once we’ve beaten Chrysalis…” she was just able to choke down a sob as she thought back on all of those ponies bowing to her… the ponies she had doomed. “W-we have to leave the Empire in his hooves and not resist him in any way…”

Luna’s brow furrowed and her lips tightened into a thin line. For several seconds, she said nothing. Eventually, she let out a breath and gave Rainbow’s shoulder a firm squeeze with her hoof. “I see… that is horrible, my niece, and I am terribly sorry you had to make such a decision. But I am afraid there is no way for you to break one of his contracts once signed. Are there any loopholes or technicalities you think you could exploit?”

“None…” Rainbow sighed while shaking her head. She shifted slightly and brushed Luna’s hoof off of her shoulder. “If there is one, I didn’t have enough time to read it and figure it out…”

There was a heavy silence between them for several agonizing moments. Luna eventually let out a quiet grunt and rose back to her full height. “We will have to address that problem at another time. For now, I need to inform you of an important development.”

Rainbow looked up at her questioningly, also rising to her hooves. “What is it?”

“The changelings are on the move; heading north,” Luna explained simply, looking at the magical depiction of Sombra. The magical energy that made up the image melted into a flat plane, which then began to grow several bumps and shapes. Before long, it was a three-dimensional map of Equestria, with Canterlot in its very center. “In one of the few times I was able to gain conscious and stay aware of my surroundings, I overheard the Queen relaying orders to her army. The entirety of her swarm has left Canterlot, heading in your direction.”

Rainbow’s ears fell flat against her head and her face morphed into one of abject dread. “Oh… oh, no… the Northern Lights…” she breathed out in horror, realizing that that display would have been like a beacon to the love-hungry invaders.

“Exactly…” Luna nodded along before a small, sly grin appeared on her face. “Which means that everything is going exactly according to plan.”

Rainbow blinked and looked up into Luna’s smirking face with no small amount of skepticism in her own. “Um… what?” she asked dumbly, one eyebrow shooting up to become hidden under her mane.

Luna’s smirk grew in both size and smugness. “The Changelings feed off of love, which means that the Crystal Empire would be an irresistible target to them. But what they don’t know is that the Empire has one of the most powerful means of self-defense in the whole world. I had heard tales of this power being able to erase any enemies of the Empire within its borders, without exception. Sombra somehow nullified this power, leading to his coup going off without a hitch, but if you can find a way to restore it…” Luna looked down at Rainbow with an almost predatory glint in her eyes. “Then Chrysalis and her army will be flying directly into a trap.”

Rainbow’s other eyebrow flew up to join its twin and she looked down at the map. Then, she too began to grin confidently. An ecstatic and relieved laugh burst out of her lips before she turned to face her aunt again. “Oh my gosh, Luna, that’s genius!” she exclaimed eagerly before jumping over and wrapping Luna in another tight hug.

Luna chuckled merrily while draping a wing over the happy pegasus. “I like to think I have my moments, yes,” she cheekily replied before her tone turned serious again, and she gently nudged Rainbow back to the ground. “I do not know how much time you have, but if the changelings can all fly, then they can make better time than you and your friends did on hoof. How long did it take you to get to the Empire?”

Rainbow’s brow furrowed and her smile was replaced by a worried grimace. “Uh… it took us a week,” she replied uneasily, shifting on her hooves. “So… that means…”

“They will be upon you within a week…” Luna mused grimly, her expression darkening. She looked to Rainbow with a small glimmer of hope. “Keep your eyes on the southern horizon. I know not how fast these creatures are. They may arrive any day. Have you found the Empire’s power yet?”

“No,” Rainbow shook her head and growled in her throat. “The locals all have some sort of amnesia going on, too. So unless one of them spontaneously remembers something, we’re going to have to do this the old-fashioned way and read up on it.”

Luna grimaced and looked down at the map. “A shame… then I strongly advise you get back to work on that as soon as you awaken. You have no time to lose.”

“Right…” Rainbow nodded sharply before looking down at the map again herself. “Heh… I don’t suppose it’s realistic to think Chrysalis left Canterlot unguarded, huh?”

Luna shook her head. “She did indeed leave a skeleton guard. I have seen a few drones trotting by the throne room on patrol since she left, but their numbers are severely limited. Their decreased numbers are a large part of why I am able to maintain this dream with you, now; none of them are around right now to notice that I am up to anything.”

Rainbow got another smile on her face. “Good… that means they’re vulnerable there,” she said thoughtfully while leaning down to more closely study the map.

Luna watched her for several seconds, a great deal of curiosity in her expression. She leaned down to better see what Rainbow was looking at before giving a voice to her question. “What are you planning, my niece?”

“The changelings rely heavily on swarm tactics and misdirection to confuse their enemies and gain the upper hoof,” Rainbow recited the words Thorax had said to her about his kind when they were en route to the Empire. “Fewer changelings means a smaller swarm. A smaller swarm means fewer bugs to cause misdirection or confusion. I can send a message to Manehattan, Cloudsdale and the Wonderbolts with Spike’s Dragonfire, and get those cities to send forces to Canterlot. They can take back the city and bust you, mom and Cadance out of those gross cocoon things.”

Luna hummed thoughtfully while Rainbow explained the plan, rolling it around in her head for a few seconds after. “It isn’t a bad plan…” she commented before narrowing her eyes in warning. “But you must be careful, Rainbow Dash. We know very little for sure about these creatures or their full potential; I would not advise recklessness.”

Rainbow shot her a cocky smirk. “Don’t worry; I’ve got a pretty good source of intel,” she assured Luna before standing upright. She went to say some more, but never got the chance.

The world around them suddenly shook violently as a thunderous boom echoed through the air. The sudden movement tossed Rainbow from her hooves and to the grass below. She grunted in pain from the impact, feeling the flowers and grass decaying under her body. “What the hay was that?!” she shouted while quickly picking herself up and leaping into the air with a flap of her wings.

Once in the air, she caught sight of Luna, and her eyes widened. The other princess was curled up on the ground with her hooves on her head, gasping and crying out in pain. When Rainbow went towards her to offer help, Luna looked up at her to shout. “Stop! Come no closer!” Rainbow did as she was told, stopping in the air and then reluctantly backing away.

“Luna, what’s happening?!”

“I have- ACK! I have been in this dream for too long! The cocoon is beginning-” she let out a strangled groan of pain, curling up even more. Rainbow then looked up into the sky, the color draining from her face when she saw everything in the world around them starting to melt into a disgusting green goo. Even the moon could not be saved from this fate, it’s entire ship elongating and distorting as gravity pulled the slime down to earth. Luna managed to find her voice and speak out, even as the grass and soil beneath her also started to deform into slime. “The cocoon is beginning it’s harvesting cycle! You must wake!”

Rainbow’s eyes widened when she saw a point of light forming on the tip of Luna’s horn. “W-wait! Aunt Luna!” she shouted, shooting down towards her with her hooves reaching out. The light on Luna’s horn expanded rapidly just as the alicorn fell into the slime and disappeared. The expanding light washed over Rainbow Dash, forcing her to screw her eyes shut. At the same moment, an impossibly powerful gust of wind slammed into her front, sending her spiraling head-over-hooves into the sky with a disoriented scream.

And then the dream ended.

“LUNA!” Rainbow Dash cried out while sitting bolt upright in the bed. Her heart beat against her ribs like a blacksmith hammering away at his newest masterpiece, and a cold sweat suddenly broke out over her entire body. Her eyes frantically darted around the room for a moment before she felt Twilight’s hooves on her back and shoulder, helping to return her to reality a little quicker. Her ragged pants gradually began to calm down and, after a moment, she looked to her right to see Twilight sitting upright next to her, looking worried, if also still very tired.

“Are you okay?” Twilight asked softly, nuzzling into Rainbow’s shoulder in an effort to comfort the still panting pegasus. Rainbow nodded and draped a wing over Twilight in response.

“Y-yeah… I’m okay…” she mumbled despondently before glancing towards the curtains covering the glass door that led to the balcony. Based on the gentle golden glow coming from behind the thick fabric, she was figuring it was sometime in the early morning. “The sun’s up… we should probably get up with it.”

Twilight nodded and slipped out of the bed along with Dash. They spent a few moments of stretching and tidying up their manes, Twilight using magic and Rainbow using her hooves, they both trotted over to the curtains and pulled them back, allowing the morning sunlight to spill into the room. Rainbow felt the warmth on her face and chest and visibly relaxed, a content exhale making itself heard.

Twilight, from Rainbow’s left, looked her over before leaning into her side. “Did Princess Luna contact you?” she asked in a quiet whisper, resting her head against Rainbow’s shoulder.

Rainbow, again, draped a wing over Twilight and nodded. “Yeah… she did,” she answered in an equally hushed voice.

“What did she have to say?”

Rainbow winced and looked at Twilight, only to find her looking right back up at her. The two of them locked gazes for a few moments. Rainbow, after a few silent seconds, tore her gaze away and looked out at the city beyond the glass. “...Let’s gather the others. It’d be better if you all heard it at the same time,” she replied solemnly. She then looked at Twilight, her eyes drifting a little above her eyes to look at her mane. Rainbow snorted and put on a playful smirk. “Plus, you really need to comb your mane. The thing looks like a rat’s nest.”

“Oh, har har. Look who's talking,” Twilight rebuked while smacking Rainbow in the back of the head.

Rainbow just chuckled.

Author's Note:

Fun Fact: Luna be a schemer.

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